A Gentle Introduction to Fractions

Fractions is one of the mathematics topics that many people have difficulty with. However, unfortunately, it is also one of the most important topics that must be mastered. This is because examination questions in mathematics always include fractions. For example, in the Civil Service Review Numerical Reasoning tests, fractions appear in almost every test: basic arithmetic, number sequences, equations and problem solving.

In this post, we are going to discuss the basics about fractions particularly about the terminologies used. Of course, you don’t really have to memorize them now, but you can refer to this post in the following discussions. In the future discussions, you will use the vocabulary that you have learned here. 

Introduction to Fractions

In layman’s language, a fraction is really a part of a whole. In the figure below, the part which is shaded is one out of four, so we say that ¼ of the square is shaded. We can also say that three out of four or ¾ of the square is not shaded. We can also say that adding ¼ and ¾ equals one whole.

one fourth

Fractions can also be a subset of a set. If 3 out of 10 students are girls, then we say that 3/10 of the students are girls. A fraction could also mean division. For example, wen we say 7/10, we can also mean, 7 divided by 10.

fractions 1

A fraction is composed of a numerator, the number above the bar, and a denominator, the number below the bar. . Fractions whose numerator are less than the denominator are called proper fractions. Fractions whose numerator are greater than the numerator are called improper fractions. Improper fractions can be converted to mixed fractions or fractions that contain whole numbers.

fractions 2

Just like other numbers, we can perform operations on fractions. In the next four posts, we will be discussing the different operations on fractions. We will learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions.

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